How to Remove a Ball Joint From a 2001 Windstarby Tim Petruccio
The 2001 Ford Windstar has a lower ball joint that is directly integrated into the lower control arm assembly. In order to replace the ball joint, you must replace the entire control arm assembly. This is a rigorous job that will take three to four hours to complete. The lower ball joints are an integral part of your steering, suspension, and alignment, as they hold the entire steering and wheel assembly on the car. You can purchase all of the items you need at your local auto-parts store.
Set wheel chocks behind both rear tires. Raise the vehicle and set a jack stand below the front sub frame. Remove the appropriate wheel.
Pull the cotter pin out of the king nut, at the top of the lower ball joint. Remove the king nut from the lower ball joint assembly. Pry the ball joint from the knuckle assembly. Set your second jack stand underneath the knuckle assembly once the ball joint is separated.
Remove the bolts that hold the lower control arm to the frame of the vehicle. Use the breaker bar, on the end of your 3/8-inch drive ratchet if you need leverage. Press the old bushings out of the lower control arm with the C-clamp. Use penetrating spray if they are stuck.
Soak the lower control arm ends in lubricating oil as well as the new lower control arm bushings. Push the new control arm bushings into the control arms until they pop into place.
Reinstall the lower control arm at the frame. Tighten the bolts 80 to 90 ft-lbs. of torque. Use your pry bar and realign the lower ball joint with the steering knuckle. This task may take a few attempts.
Tighten the lower control arm king nut between 80 and 90 ft-lbs. of torque. Insert the new cotter pin into the king nut assembly. Reinstall the wheel and lower the vehicle.
- Replacing both of the lower ball joints together is suggested, as it will keep the balance of your steering and suspension components in sync. The ball joints work as a steering control pivot, as well as an alignment and suspension holding device. By replacing both lower ball joints, you are ensuring that one side of your vehicle's suspension is not weaker than the other side.
Things You'll Need
- 3/8-drive socket and ratchet set
- 2-ton jack
- 2 jack stands
- 2 wheel chocks
- Lubricating oil
- Pry bar
- Breaker bar to fit over 3/8-drive ratchet
- New lower control arm/lower ball joint assembly
- New lower control arm bushings
- C-clamp, 2 inches or larger
- Do not place your hands or fingers between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle at any time. Failure to obey this warning could result in loss of limb, injury, or even death.
Tim Petruccio is a professional writer and automotive mechanic. His writing combines more than 20 years of mechanical experience in automotive service, service management, automotive education and business ownership. He assisted in the automotive beta, which launched March 2011.